Example Of Critique Essays

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Chris K.
Research Critique 1

       Jamber, E. A., & Zhang, J .J. (1997).  Investigating leadership, gender, and coaching level using the Revised Leadership for Sport Scale. Journal of Sport Behavior, 20, 313-322.
 

       The purpose of the study was to determine possible differences in leadership behaviors,

using the Revised Leadership for Sport Scale (RLSS), between male and female coaches 

and among different coaching levels.  The researchers submitted two hypotheses.  The first 

hypothesis was that male and female coaches would respond differently to the RLSS in 

overall leadership behaviors.  The second hypothesis was that differences on the RLSS 

would occur among coaching levels: junior high, high school, and college.

     The sample was nonrandom, including 162 coaches that were chosen on a volunteer 

basis.  Within the sample, 118 (0.73) of the coaches were male, while 44 (0.27) were 

female.  With regard to coaching level, 25 (0.15) were junior high coaches, 99 (0.61) high 

school, and 38 (0.24) at the college level.   While this is a good sample size, the problem lies 

with the distribution of the sample.  The sample number for junior high coaches, in particular, 

is rather low.  A larger sample with regard to all categories would have aided in the data 

analysis, particularly when looking for possible interactions between gender and coaching 

level. 



     The instrument utilized was the Revised Leadership for Sport Scale (RLSS) developed 

by Zhang, Jensen, and Mann in 1996.  This scale is used to measure six leadership 

behaviors:  training and instruction, democratic, autocratic, social support, positive feedback, 

and situational consideration.  The scale uses 60 statements, which were preceded by “In 

coaching, I:” A Likert scale was then given for each statement: 1 = never; 2 = seldom; 3 = 

occasionally; 4 = often; and 5 = always.  This produced an ordinal level data set.  Scales 

were administered in a number of environmental settings: classrooms, gymnasiums, practice 

fields, and offices.  The internal consistency for each section was calculated: 0.84 for training 

and instruction; 0.66 for democratic; 0.70 for autocratic; 0.52 for social support; 0.78 for 

positive feedback; and 0.69 for situational consideration.  There was no information, 

however, regarding the validity of the RLSS. 

     A MANOVA was used to analyze the data for differences between male and female 

coaches with regard to leadership behaviors.  This is not consistent with the type of data 

collected.  The RLSS used a Likert scale (ordinal), yet a MANOVA would be most 

applicable for normally distributed, quantitative data.  The analysis showed there were no 

significant differences between male and female coaches in overall leadership behaviors. 

When the six leadership styles were examined separately, there was a significant difference 

in social support between males and females.  In general, females scored much higher than 

did the male coaches.



       A MANOVA was also used to examine the data for differences between the three 

levels of coaching (junior high, high school, and college) with regard to leadership behavior 

in general.  There were significant differences between the three levels.  When breaking 

down the six behaviors and examining them individually, an ANOVA was used to analyze 

the data.  Again, because the data for the RLSS is ordinal, an ANOVA is not the best 

analysis tool.   The three coaching levels scored differently on three of the six behaviors: 

democratic behaviors, training and instruction, and social support. High school coaches 

scored much higher than college level coaches in democratic behavior.  Junior high coaches 

were significantly lower in training and instruction than either high school or college coaches. 

Junior high coaches also demonstrated a lesser degree of social support than either the high 

school or college coaches.

     A MANOVA was again used to analyze the data for any interaction between gender and 

coaching level with regard to overall leadership behavior.  Once again, a better analysis 

method could have been chosen based on the nature of the data collected. The results 

indicated no significant interactions. 

      The ecological generaliziability for the study is fairly high.  The surveys were mailed out, 

and returned on a volunteer basis.  However,  due to the nonrandom nature of the sample, 

the results would not generalizable beyond the 162 participants in the study. There was no 

effect size is listed for the study. 

      In order to reduce threats to internal validity, the participants were asked to respond 

honestly and confidentiality was stressed so that the “coaches might feel more at ease in 

responding.”   No other efforts were indicated. 



      The researchers mention that the scales were given in a variety of settings.  This could 

present a threat to the internal validity in that participants might not have been entirely 

focused on completing the scale, but instead on coordinating practice, completing 

paperwork, etc.  There are a number of other factors that could effect the internal validity of 

the study, yet were not addressed by the researchers. Coaching experience would greatly 

effect the responses of the participants, yet this was not considered in the study.  The gender 

of the athletes may be a contributing factor to the coaches’ responses.  It is not unreasonable 

to suppose that coaches of female athletes, particularly at the junior high and high school 

levels, will demonstrate more social support than those of male athletes. The nature of the 

sport could also be critical.  Certain coaching styles are more applicable for individual sports 

(wrestling, track, and tennis) than for team sports (football, soccer, and basketball).  The 

socioeconomics and population of the school itself could play a factor.  Certain schools have 

better athletes and programs in a particular sport, while others may not be able to field a 

winning team.  In addition, at the high school level, coaches are occasionally asked/forced to 

work with a program they have no knowledge of or desire to coach due to staffing 

shortages.  This could dramatically influence a coach’s response to the scale questions. The 

history of the program as well as the individual coach’s personal coaching history could 

greatly influence responses.  If the program has had several losing seasons in a row, perhaps 

the attitude of the coach could be different than that of a coach who has recently won a state 

title. 



     An additional set of questions regarding the personal history of the coach in question 

could have helped reduce many of these threats.  With additional information, the 

researchers may have been able to use a modified matching system when analyzing the 

results.  By increasing the number of independent variables to include things such as 

coaching experience and gender of the athletes, the researchers could have reduced some of 

the potential threats to internal validity.  In addition, bringing coaches together to a common 

setting could have reduced location threat.  Coaches meet seasonally for clinics.  Perhaps 

obtaining permission to administer the survey during these meetings would have been 

possible. It would have also been possible to actually go to individual schools and meet with 

the coaches as a group to administer surveys.  This method would have given a good 

cross-section of gender and coaching experience for a variety of sports. 

     While the study has merit, the methods need to be re-evaluated.  The power of the study 

needs to be increased by obtaining a larger sample size.  The numerous potential threats to 

internal validity need to be addressed and minimized where possible.  It would also be 

helpful to be given data regarding the validity of the RLSS.  Without these, it is impossible to 

evaluate the potential meaningfulness of this study. 
 

 

A critique of the short story A Good Man is Hard to Find

Thesis

O’Connor’s succeeds to bring out his arguments in this short story to sum up the feeling that in today’s world, societal morals and values have drastically crumbled making the world an inhabitable place.

Introduction

The author presents his main theme of fate by bringing the reader to a family’s holiday which is unfortunately brought to a sudden end by a murder (O’Connor 36). The grandmother argues that the family should go to Tennessee instead of Florida. Her insistence makes the family to deviate from the right path in an attempt to look for a fake treasure. The rebelliousness the family exhibits is a sign of moral decadence. The grandmother’s decision makes the family appear like it admires the Misfit. At the beginning of the story, the author illustrates clearly that the family was to suffer in the hands of Misfit. O’Connor effectively uses characterization in this story. He uses symbolism to show how the morals of a society have been destroyed (O’Connor 36).

Discussion

In the story ‘‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the author features the grandmother as a central character. Her character is evidently presented in the story as a very pushy persona who dearly loves herself to an extent of being myopic (O’Connor 36). Similarly, the author paints her as an authoritative and manipulative person. This is confirmed when she manages to push the family to reschedule its plan. Her mean character is noticeably shown when she wants to visit the house she used to live in when she was young. Following her conversation with her son Bailey, the old woman tries to pressure him to change his plan to her advantage. Her character is the same up till the end of the story (Getz 234).

O’Connor extensively uses characterization to bring out lack of respect and poor discipline in America’s society. The message in his story can be understood from differences that subsist between the old and young generations (O’Connor 36). The grandmother in the story symbolizes the old generation. The author describes how the old lady clothes herself such that even if a misfortune occurs, any person could easily recognize that she was a female because of her dressing. In the past, there were good morals. The children could respect the elder people and everybody in the society would reinforce such behavior all the time (Getz 234). However, the grandchildren are immoral and undisciplined. The author through his employing of characterization elements shows that Misfit is a product of crumbled values and culture devoid of demeanor. However, Misfit seems to be respectful in a way especially when he uses polite words like ‘Maam’.

Similarly, O’Connor uses symbolism in the story to show bereavement and faith. The author says that the family deviates from the good road to follow a dreadful one where they end up getting killed. This symbolizes how people move away from the kingdom of God to go to down the evil paths. The town’s name called “Toombsboro” is used by the author to symbolize death (O’Connor 36). The old woman hopes that she would find a plantation in Toombsboro town. It is in this town still that the old lady is sidetracked. This symbolizes that her faith in Jesus is getting low. In the story, the author writes that June and John tries to guess what the sky’s color is. The clouds in are used by the author to present the faith of the old lady (Getz 234). At the end of the story, we are told that there are no clouds anymore and the sky has nothing. The author is trying to show that the old woman’s faith at that stage is already depleted. The author uses a grave yard to symbolize death. Furthermore, in his quote “big black battered hearse like automobile” is applied to show that death is the final destination (O’Connor 36).

The author strongly backs up his theme by titling the story “A Good man is hard to find”. He uses personalities like Misfit to support it. This propping up is evidenced by the use the grandchildren and Jesus. In the story, the old woman says that she could go with her children anywhere and could give answer to her consciousness if possible. Finally, this lady comes into a situation where she tries to give answers to her conscience by frustratingly assuming that Misfit is not a bad person. Misfit on the other hand insists that indeed he is a bad person (O’Connor 36). Misfit compares himself to Jesus where he says that Jesus suffered for other people’s sins just the same way he got punished for mistakes he never did. The theme that “a good man is hard to find” undoubtedly refers to Jesus. This is because Misfit tries to compare himself to Jesus but he finally commits a murder. The old woman’s shaky faith in Jesus is over. By Jesus not delivering her shows that indeed “a good man is hard to find.”

Conclusion

The author ultimately does well to bring to the reader’s attention how the world is changing from being a good to a bad place (O’Connor 36). By use of characterization and symbolism he clearly shows the various vices in the society which are making the world a bad place. The author also uses the theme of the story “a good man is hard to find” to show that if people would accept Jesus in their lives then the world could be a good place just like in the past. This is because people would acquire good morals, be respectful and also practice discipline in everything they do.

Works cited

Getz, Lorine, Nature and Grace in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.

O’Connor, Flannery, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Chicago: Rutgers University Press. 2009.

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